Moving Home Safely
& Covid Secure Countrywide Group Risk Assessment Latest advice & FAQs

Covid-19 Update

COVID-19 Update - Version 18, Updated 08/09/2020

The health and well-being of our colleagues, customers and communities is our utmost priority. Following on from the recent government's announcement we’re working hard to ensure that we can return to work whilst keeping everyone safe. 

View our Covid Secure Countrywide Group Risk Assessment

Advice & FAQs

For added peace of mind, we thought we’d put together some advice & FAQs which might help to answer your queries or concerns at this difficult time.

Mortgage and Protection

  • Can I still get a mortgage to buy a property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes you can. Countrywide Mortgages Services can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” to help review your mortgage and protection requirements, all from the comfort of your own home.

    Using the technology that Countrywide already has in place, we can progress the whole mortgage and protection application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*. To get started please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can. *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

    Updated government advice can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

  • Is a mortgage payment holiday right for me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The mortgage payment holiday guidance introduced in June 2020 was designed to protect the most vulnerable by alleviating immediate financial pressure and any stress or worries they may have about meeting all their financial commitments and day to day needs.

    The June Guidance will continue to provide support for those newly impacted by coronavirus until 31 October 2020 – with customers able to receive an initial or further 3-month payment deferral up to and including that date that would last until 31 January 2021.

    If you feel that you may struggle financially, taking the payment holiday (either in full or in part) may be the right thing for you to do and in the first instance you should contact your mortgage lender.

    If, however, you feel you can meet your monthly mortgage payments during this crisis, without it impacting on your everyday needs, then you should strongly consider continuing to pay them.

    If you have taken or are considering taking a mortgage payment holiday, you must be aware, like any holiday, it must be paid for. For example, at the end of the holiday period your repayments to the end of your mortgage term might be re-calculated by the lender to include repayment of the portion of the outstanding loan not repaid during the holiday, plus the interest not paid during the deferred period. This may mean your new repayments are greater than you may have budgeted for, which could cause you further financial difficulty.

    Taking these practical steps may help you determine if a mortgage payment holiday is right for you.

    Work out your finances.

    Write down what money you currently have coming in from all sources, then consider any loss of income you may experience as a result of either being furloughed from your place of work or even losing your job due to the impact the crisis has had on your employer or self- employment opportunities.

    Work out your outgoings.

    Write down all your outgoings, prioritising these in order of most need, i.e. food, utilities (water, gas, electric) etc.

    This may be a good time to review whether payment for some of your non-essential commitments can be suspended or cancelled, for example gym memberships etc.

    Work out what can you afford.

    If your outgoings, including your mortgage payments, are likely to place financial stress on you and your family, you should contact your mortgage lender immediately to discuss your payment holiday options.

    It is important that you do not simply cancel your Direct Debit mandate, as this may be counted as a missed payment and you may incur charges from your lender. Your lender will suspend taking payments from your account once they have confirmed you are eligible for and the terms of your holiday have been agreed.

  • Contact details for your mortgage lender. Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

     

    Lender

    Contact details

    Barclays

    https://www.barclays.co.uk/mortgages/

    BM Solutions

    0345 850 5000

     https://secure.lloydsbank.com/

    Coventry Building Society

    0800 121 8899

    https://www.coventrybuildingsociety.co.uk/

    Halifax

    https://www.halifax.co.uk/mortgages/existing-customers/payment-holidays/?WT.ac=PaymentHoliday

    HSBC

    https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/coronavirus/

    Leeds

    https://www.leedsbuildingsociety.co.uk/coronavirus-information/

    Nationwide

    https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/coronavirus/mortgage-payment-holiday

    NatWest

    https://personal.natwest.com/

    Platform

    https://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/news/2020/coronavirus-support-personal-customers

    Precise

    https://www.precisemortgages.co.uk/

    Santander

    https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/coronavirus?icid=php-Hero-Coronavirus-0320

    Scottish Widows Bank

    0345 845 0829

    The Mortgage Works

    https://www.themortgageworks.co.uk/payment-holidays

    Virgin Money

    https://uk.virginmoney.com/contact/support-hub/coronavirus/

     

  • I have taken an initial 3-month payment holiday, but I know that I won’t be able to start paying my mortgage payments again when this period ends, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The government and the FCA have said lenders should continue to support any customer who has already had a payment holiday but need further help.

    As your current payment holiday nears its end, your mortgage lender should contact you to discuss your options. This may be that they offer an extension to the holiday period or work out with you a way for you to begin repaying some of your monthly payment amount to offset the interest accruing and lessen the impact of increased payments at the end of the extended term or when you can afford to begin repaying your monthly payments in full.

    Your mortgage lender may also suggest transferring your current arrangements to an alternative fixed or reduced rate deal.  If this is their suggestion, it may be advisable to seek further advice from a Countrywide Mortgage and Protection Consultant.  Here at Countrywide we are able to consider a wide range of mortgage products from across the market place and may be able to find a better rate or product with an alternative lender, which may be more suitable for your current and future needs.

    We do however agree that where you can meet some or all of your mortgage payments, you should begin to do so as soon as you can. This is providing of course that you can meet your day to day needs for you and your family and not overstretch yourself and missing a mortgage payment, as this may count as a payment default, again leading to you possibly being charged. Where possible, avoid using an overdraft facility to meet your payments as this could lead to future financial problems.

  • Can my lender repossess my home if I am unable to make any or all of my payments when the payment holiday ends?’ Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The government ban on mortgage lenders repossessing homes will continue to 31st October 2020. Beyond this date, lenders will be able to invoke repossession proceedings where a payment shortfall exists, provided it follows FCA rules and guidance by making all reasonable attempts to help resolve the payment shortfall and providing support and forbearance measures where possible. 

  • Will my ability to access credit, obtain a mortgage/re-mortgage be affected if I take or extend a payment holiday? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have already taken an initial payment deferral (holiday) under the guidance published by the government and FCA in June 2020, those arrangements will not be reflected on your credit file. This includes where you have extended any initial arrangements prior to 16th September 2020 to beyond that date.

    Should you extend any deferral or newly enter arrangements for a payment deferral after 16th September, these arrangements will be reflected on your credit file. It is therefore important that, where you can afford to continue or resume making repayments, you should do so to avoid the impact to your credit file and having to repay the deferred amount, either through a lump sum or by adding the deferred amount to the outstanding mortgage and having to either extend your mortgage repayment period or increase your monthly repayments.

  • Can I still remortgage as my current interest rate is coming to an end? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the recent Bank of England base rate cuts many lenders are still offering low remortgage rates for customers looking to reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

    Countrywide Mortgages Services can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” and using the technology that is already in place, we can progress the whole remortgage application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*.

    To get started please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

  • How do I get in touch with my Mortgage and Protection Consultant if the branch is closed? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have been liaising directly with your Mortgage Consultant then please continue to do so using the email or telephone number that they have supplied to you.

    We have set up a central email address for all new enquires and this is monitored regularly. Please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

  • How do I make a claim on my AXA or AVIVA policy that I arranged through Countrywide? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have to make a claim or have a query on either your household or personal protection policies, in the first instance please refer to your policy document which will highlight all the main helpline numbers.

    We have however listed all of the main contact numbers for both AXA and AVIVA below.

    Please do not cancel a policy without first speaking to us, as your valuable protection will no longer apply. If you wish to change or adjust any of your policies, or you wish to take additional cover then please contact us at admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    AXA:

    AXA Claim - Homeowner

    Contact

    Buildings, Contents, Personal Possessions and Pedal Cycles

    0345 521 3905

    Domestic Helpline and Home Emergency

    0330 058 1638

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1641

     

    AXA Claim - Landlord

    Contact

    Buildings, Landlord’s Contents and Carpets, Curtains and White Goods

    0345 521 3905

    Domestic Helpline and Home Emergency

    0330 058 1639

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1643

     

    AXA Claim - Tenant

    Contact

    Contents, Personal Possessions and Pedal Cycles

    0345 521 3905

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1642


    AVIVA:

    Personal Protection

    Contact

    Changing details, making a claim or ask a question

    Aviva Contact Us

    Manage your existing policy

    Aviva My Account

     

  • Can I defer my insurance/protection payments? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes, customers who are struggling financially due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) have until 31st October 2020 to defer up to 3 months premiums whilst retaining their important benefits and levels of cover.

    If your financial situation changes for the better at any time and you feel you are able to meet your monthly premiums and/ or repay any previously deferred payments, without placing yourself into undue financial difficulty, you should consider doing so at the earliest opportunity. By doing so, it may help you to avoid the possibility of having to repay the total deferred premium amount through either increased premiums or a large one-off sum at the expiry of the deferred period and prior to the expiry of the agreement/policy term.

    *If you would like to apply to defer your premium payments, then in the first instance please use the contact details below; AVIVA  Protection policies Apply using either their website or contact  AVIVA direct on 0800 2851 098 AXA insurance policies Apply by contacting Countrywide Insurance Services on 01908 961399

    *Please note that Terms and conditions apply, and the scheme is currently available until 31st October 2020.

    If you are unsure whether a premium deferral is the right thing for you, it may be of benefit to review the free and impartial advice provide by the Money Advice Service using their money navigator tool which can be found here: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-navigator-tool

  • I previously deferred my insurance/protection payments – what happens now? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you had deferred your insurance premium payments within the period between 14th May 2020 up to 11th August 2020 and are worried that you will still be unable to meet your insurance premium payments or repay the amount deferred, your insurer may agree for you to continue to defer the payments previously due and future payments. This would be dependent on your circumstances and other options available to you.

    *If you would like to discuss arrangements for continuing to defer your premium payments or other options available to you then in the first instance please use the contact details below; AVIVA  Protection policies Apply using either their website or contact  AVIVA direct on 0800 2851 098 AXA insurance policies Apply by contacting Countrywide Insurance Services on 01908 961399

    *Please note that Terms and conditions apply, and the scheme is currently available until 31st October 2020.

    If you are unsure whether a premium deferral is the right thing for you, it may be of benefit to review the free and impartial advice provide by the Money Advice Service using their money navigator tool which can be found here: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-navigator-tool

Surveying

  • Covid Safe Compliance Certificate Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The health of our customers, colleagues and communities is of the utmost importance to us and whilst these are uncertain times we want to reassure you that our focus and dedication remains to help all our customers with surveying advice. As part of this we now have a signed declaration of government compliance.

    Covid Safe Compliance Certificate

  • I’ve applied for a mortgage, what happens next? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Many customers may have the same concerns and lenders will be experiencing high call volumes. If you have used a broker they may be able to guide you through this process or speak with your lender to ask about what happens next.

  • Can you value my property for mortgage purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes, we are still providing mortgage valuations for our clients. The valuation may be undertaken using our innovative remote valuation service. If we need to inspect your property we will contact you. The video on our website details how we will safely conduct an inspection of the property.

    It’s important to note that not all cases are suitable for a remote valuation and we can only act on the instructions received from your bank or building society if you have a chat with them they’ll let you know what will happen with your application.

  • Why isn’t my property suitable for a non-physical valuation? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We work with our mortgage lender clients to determine which properties are suitable for a remote valuation. We adopt a risk based approach and consider a number of factors including the value of the property, the size of the loan, property age and type and its location. As such not all properties will meet the individual lenders requirements.

  • When will you be undertaking surveys again? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are now undertaking surveys in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, subject to any local lockdown restrictions.

    We are here to help all homebuyers with their purchase decision. Please contact us at HomeFact@countrywide.co.uk

  • I’ve received my survey report and I have some questions, can you help me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We have people on hand to assist our customers. Please contact us at surveying.insight@countrywide.co.uk and we will be able to help you.

  • I’m buying a new home and I need a survey, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We are now undertaking surveys in England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, subject to any local lockdown restrictions.

    We are here to help all homebuyers with their purchase decision. Please contact us at HomeFact@countrywide.co.uk

  • Should I take the risk and proceed with the purchase if I have not had a survey? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    A survey helps you make an informed decision about the condition of the property. Without this knowledge, you may experience problems with the property when you move in. Or there could be defects which could be costly to put right.  

  • What will happen with my survey/valulation during the Welsh two week firebreak? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    We will be following Welsh Government advice and internal physical inspections of occupied property will not be undertaken during the two week Fire break in Wales.  Any report requiring internal inspection will be postponed and booked as soon as possible from w/c 9th November.

Conveyancing

  • Countrywide Conveyancing Services advice and information Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Here at Countrywide Conveyancing Services we have been working hard to re-mobilise our offices ensuring we return to business as usual whilst maintaining a focus on the safeguarding of our people.

    We have over the weeks and months developed a robust and agile working model to adapt to the new normal, ensuring that we keep our customers moving whilst observing Government guidelines.

    The latest Government guidelines for moving in England can be found here. For latest guidelines on moving in Wales, please click on this link. We continue to monitor the guidance for moving in England and Wales, to include the enforcement of local lockdowns.

    We understand that customer contact is paramount at this time. We have worked hard to re-open our offices with particular focus on increasing customer contact, to ensure you can reach us, when you need us.  You can contact us by e-mail, via our Conveyancing Connect portal and importantly by phone.

    Your assigned lawyer will give you their direct dial and e-mail address. If you do not have your Lawyer’s contact details to hand, please call our legal team who are available on the following number:

    Cardiff - 02920 442 100

    Manchester – 0161 200 8200

    For any new business queries please contact newbusiness@cwpl.com or call 0161 200 8250. 

    We are also working hard to ensure we contact our customers with progress updates in relation to the legal work on live transactions, ensuring you are kept informed every step of the way.

    HELP US HELP YOU

    With our implementation of home working, and to mitigate the risk posed by the Pandemic, we will be sending all correspondence where possible by e-mail. If you need to send correspondence to us, please send hard copies only where it is necessary – for example original signed documentation.

    Should you require assistance or have any concerns, please click on the link to contact us

    HEIGHTENED RISK OF FRAUD

    We know fraudsters try to take advantage during times of disruption.

    PLEASE TAKE EXTRA CARE, WHEN MAKING PAYMENTS TO OR RECEIVING FUNDS FROM US.  WE ASK YOU TO BE PARTICULARLY VIGILANT AND TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING:

    • We will NEVER amend our bank account details mid-transaction

    • Always confirm money transactions verbally with us, and never rely exclusively on email communication

    • Treat any communications from new or unrecognised sources, particularly any communications that express urgency or require you to move quickly, with extreme caution. Always check with us first.

    MOVING SAFELY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

    The general UK wide lockdown has been lifted, but there are still local restrictions in England & Wales and the government advice on moving safely is updated from time to time. For this reason, we will be writing to you before exchange of contracts to make sure you are aware of any risks before you instruct us to commit you to a completion date.  Once you have exchanged contracts, you are contractually bound to complete your sale or purchase on the agreed completion date.  If you are unable to do so, whatever the reason, you will be in breach of contract (which was of course the case even before any Covid-19 complications.)

    Subject to that, it is business as usual for us and we aim to get your transaction completed as quickly as you want to move.  If you do experience any problems with your transaction, our experienced lawyers will be able to give you specific advice and guidance.

     During the UK wide lock down we generally advised that a simultaneous exchange and completion was the safest way to proceed but we are no longer recommending this as a matter of course. However if you do instruct us to do this here is a reminder of the things you need to consider. 

    WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF EXCHANGING AND COMPLETING ON THE SAME DAY?

    We are quite used to dealing with simultaneous exchanges and completions, but it does require the co-operation of all parties involved in the transaction and there are risks.

    • It will be necessary for you to make all the practical arrangements in advance of the proposed completion date, some of which could incur costs in advance even though until contracts have been exchanged, you cannot be certain that the transaction will actually take place. 
    • All parties involved, particularly in a chain of transactions, will have to make the same preparations and if anyone of them cannot make those arrangements in time, or their own circumstances change, the arrangement may collapse at the last minute.

    If a proposed simultaneous exchange of contracts and completion is not successfully achieved, then all the preparations would have to be repeated in time for an alternative date and you would inevitably incur additional costs (e.g. removals cancellation fee, interest payable on your new mortgage funds ordered in advance, etc.).